The first solution does not exclude the other.
It would be interesting to be able to combine them and take advantage of the outdoors as a natural gym, especially valid for aerobic activity.
With the right precautions, it is possible now to train outdoors even with Covid and in the cold season, taking advantage of the physical and the mental benefits it entails.
The benefits are many:
- Natural light and sun improve mood and are good for our immune system (because we get our fix of vitamin D).
- Fresh air revitalizes our lungs and helps the mind wake up and be more active.
- The changing landscape (even if only urban here in London) and the open space allow us to ‘open up’ (not only physically) to the world, to something that goes beyond the walls of the house and our comfort zone
- Low temperature increases energy expenditure so we waste more calories
Working outdoors makes us feel a bit freer again and gives us a motivational challenge: the winter months are challenging for those who want to train outdoors.
The cold and unfavourable weather conditions are often a deterrent for those who are frail or for those who are not used to training outside so cold temperatures often make people desist but among those there are some people who get discouraged and stay at home, dedicating themselves to home fitness but others let themselves be won over by laziness completely.
Not to mention when the sun is covered by clouds, when it rains or there is fog, when it snows…there can always be a valid excuse, especially here in the United Kingdom!
Many people are afraid of catching a cold and succumbing to seasonal ailments and this year it is particularly important to wear the right clothes to avoid sweating and getting cold and wet while working out.
In short, all these conditions make us think that experts do not recommend doing outdoor training in winter, but the truth is that they suggest the exact opposite.
Despite the low temperatures and adversities, training outdoors is always good, even in the winter months, with the right precautions.
The first suggestion I can give is to choose a green area away from traffic and smog.
Green is a colour of peace and on a sensorial level it stimulates the positive perception of ourselves.
I suggest relying on an expert personal trainer who knows how to listen to your needs and translates them into a training suitable for you, especially if you want to start running.
Sometimes, in the absence of expert advice, it is better to walk instead, especially at a fast pace.
However, aerobic training is the first thing, considering that the most important muscle to train is the heart.
I suggest not to overdo it but to start gradually, both in the number of weekly outings and in the duration of the training.
Interval training is preferred to increase aerobic power and I believe that a well scheduled workout is an effective workout.
I think that it is key to start the session with a good warm-up, which includes aerobic activity (to increase our body general temperature) and, together, joint mobility exercises and gestures specific to the sport that will be practiced.
Warming up the muscles is key in the winter and it’s great for our workout and, in fact, it increases our power. Furthermore, with the change in body temperature, fundamental biochemical processes are activated to optimize performance, improving the quality of contraction and muscle strength.
In winter it would be necessary to spend more time warming up than working out, precisely because of the low outside temperature.
Squats, jumps and running are also essential for complex sports, which require a lot of coordination, running and involvement of the whole body.
It is not important to sweat but to prevent the risk of injury and to face the training session in the best way possible.
It is also essential to listen to your body and my trainer said that during training this is the best advice: slowing down or increasing the pace of training according to the messages that your body is sending you.
Each day is different from the other, each moment is unique and so is the sporting performance of the day.
We are not athletes but we must consider ourselves as such to make the best out of our training performance.
I’m training hard right now to have a fit body for the summer to come – hoping it will be a new beginning – because I think as the saying goes a sound mind goes together with a sound body and because it’s a way to be outdoors which we all need now.
Where I usually work out